With Comic-Con 2013 coming to San Diego next week, it’s time to play catch-up on a few key news items from the last few weeks before the epic pop culture implosion. This week’s wrap up covers the PlayStation 4’s controller and future TV services; informational Pikmin 3 and NHL 14 trailers; Bohemia Interactive’s ARMA 3 and DayZ; Second Life’s major milestone; Microsoft’s latest future-unfriendly controller; Nintendo and developer Jonathan Blow’s unique perspectives on gaming and more!

Read on for the details and more stories.

PS4 Light Bright

PlayStation 4 PS4 Controller Light Bar

The PlayStation 4 controller features a light bar on the front, meaning it works much like the PS3 Move controllers do. That light can also be used by games in other ways, like as a health bar of sorts for Killzone: Shadow Fall where differing colors represent levels of health. This bar we’ve learned, cannot be turned off, meaning if games don’t use it, you cannot save on battery.

Meet The Pikmin

Sad about ZombiU’s future essentially fading away after news of the game not selling well? Wii U players still have Pikmin 3 to look forward to. Meet the new Pikmin in the new gameplay trailer above!

DayZ Base-Building

Two weeks ago, Dean “Rocket” Hall – creator of the DayZ mod for ARMA II & III that’s now becoming its own game, talked about his ambitious ideas for the future of the game and it looks much like EVE Online, minus the starships and space setting. Talking to RPS, Hall said the following and it sounds awesome:

“Well, I think the base-building will be. Like, you walk up to a sort of dungeon and go into a separate instance. There’s two ways we’re considering on the technical side. One is you go inside the area, and it’s Red-Faction-style destructive terrain, so you can use explosives or a pick axe or something. That may present bandwidth problems or restrict the size that we can make those areas. I mean, I envision this being an underground city. You dig out this city, lining the walls with palm trees and that kind of stuff.”

“If that becomes an issue, we go with a more Evil-Genius-style interface. You can still run around in it, but you construct from a top-down view. And Arma actually has language built into its engine. We don’t use it in DayZ, but we could use it for building security systems, programming your own computers in-game. So you can actually create a security system for your underground base and program it in. So I think that’s gonna be more like EVE’s capital ships.”

It may take a few years before we see this though.

Speaking of ARMA 3…

The ARMA 3 beta is in full swing and will be until the game releases in full. It’s missing a lot of content compared to the full game, but despite that, it features 20-square kilometers of land to fight on. There are three different purchasable options for interested players to get into the beta right now and all three – despite price differences – all feature the same playable content. Read all about it and the system requirements here.

Xbox Gold

Xbox 360 Gold Controller

Forget gold-level memberships on Xbox Live. Let’s talk hardware. Much like the Legend of Zelda games of old came with gold-colored cartridges, Microsoft is releasing a gold special edition chrome wireless controller for the Xbox 360 in August for $55. With the Xbox One not supporting these controllers and coming out just a few months later, the timing is curious. Although newcomers or vets looking to buy/replace with the new Xbox 360 model, this is a neat controller. We have the blue chrome one and it’s great!

Source: Major Nelson

NHL 14 Goaltending

Due to its release date, this year’s NHL game is the one title not getting the next-gen treatment. The trailer above showcases visuals that make this fact clear. What it also shows is slightly improved goalie AI. Let’s home there’s a bit more to the next game that justifies its price tag. The last few installments were some of the best sports titles.

PlayStation TV

Remember the sizzle reel of the Xbox One press conference in May that was mostly comprised of the word “TV.” Sony held off on announcing their own similar plans as a result but are likely planning on doing so soon, if their recent trademark application is an indicator. “PlayStation TV” has been filed as a service and it’s no surprise that Sony will have something to compete with Xbox TV on their next-gen platform.

Source: IGN

Nintendo: Blame Us

Wii U Console

The Wii U is not just lacking in games, it’s lacking in player interest, and hence sales of hardware and software. Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata said last month

“We are to blame. We relaxed our [marketing] efforts, so the consumers today still cannot understand what’s so good and unique about the Wii U. Because we’re always trying to be unique, it takes some energies on our side to [make] people understand the real attractions about whatever we are doing… We have been unsuccessful in coming up with one single software with which people can understand, ‘OK, this is really different'”

As a result, mega publishers Activision and Electronic Arts are skipping the consoles. Call of Duty: Ghosts, the biggest third-party franchise out there, may skip the Wii U and all of EA’s annual franchises are skipping it as well. EA’s Frank Gibeau on Nintendo:

“Look, the only thing they can do to fix it is to sell more boxes. We’re a rational company, we go where the audience is. We publish games where we think we can make a great game and hit a big audience, and make money. That’s why we’re here, that’s why we have an industry.”

Sources: CNBC, Joystiq

AC4 Links & Passes

High seas adventures in Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

Assassin’s Creed 4 will be monetized heavily with DLC and it will come with a season’s pass. More interestingly, it’ll also include a link to another Ubisoft title. Our guess is on Watch Dogs simply due to its open world, third-person playstyle. Heck, they could even fit them in the same universe.

Source: CVG

Witnessing Different

Jonathan Blow, creator of indie hit Braid, is developing his next title The Witness for the PS4 (and not the Xbox One). It’s going to be different because it’s dropping what he considers the bad parts of typical adventure titles, from objectives, tutorials, hunting and inventory:

“I’m taking the structure of a classical adventure game, but getting rid of all the things that are terrible about adventure games.”

Source: Eurogamer

Second Life

You’ve probably heard of the MMO Second Life, and with 36 million registrations over the years, most gamers have. It’s hard to believe but in June the title celebrated its 10-year anniversary with an infographic which emphasized that people have spent 217,266 years of real-time away from their “first life” in the virtual world.

Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes.